Boy, I really saved the harder/more embarrassing ones for last, didn’t I. Sheesh.
Fun with Numbers! (Part 4 of 4)
Counting for safety
Boy oh boy, here’s another tough one to explain! As a child, I had a lot of FEAR. I had a lot of ANXIETY. Without you understanding that, I don’t think the counting for safety can make any sense at all.
Because it was magical thinking at its finest. All to combat my intense, daily fear. I had lots of fear. But as long as I am counting, I’m “safe”. Safe from monsters and unfriendly aliens. I should never have been allowed to watch scary movies as a child. Truly.
So long as I am counting to a pre-determined number, I am safe. The rules explained through an example:
Let’s say I was in bed but had left my beloved stuffed animal dog downstairs by accident. I couldn’t leave my bed for fear of monsters taking over my body and sucking out my brain. I couldn’t be in the hallway. I couldn’t go downstairs. I couldn’t BE downstairs near midnight. I couldn’t be out of my room AT midnight (or the Monster of the Crawlspace would get me …Thanks for that one, Dad! 😉 ).
So I learned to combat it by counting. I had to set a number first. Let’s say, I chose 30. So I had til the count of 30 to get downstairs, find my stuffed dog, and return to bed. I could choose my counting speed at the start, but had to stay at that speed.
The FEAR. I would DIE if I did not count this right. I cannot describe to you the FEAR.
Same for showers. I was afraid to close my eyes in the shower, for fear that tentacles would come up and suck out my brain. So if I had to close my eyes for shampooing, the only way was to count to the preset number at the preset speed.
I missed many times, and was SURE I was going to die at any second. I was SO. SCARED.
I learned a work-around. I said it would be good-luck if I missed by exactly HALF the original number or hit DOUBLE the original number (or TRIPLE, QUADRUPLE, Etc). That helped a lot.
I used counting to get me through any situation where I thought I might die. But I felt safe so long as I was counting.
Now-a-days? I’m not sure if I do this anymore or not. I try not to get to the point of such extreme anxiety that I would need the counting to protect me. Also, I have anxiety medicine as a back-up measure now.